The year TV broke out in song

From "Mad Men's" "Zou Bisou Bisou" to "Nashville's" "Wrong Song," here are 12 numbers from 2012 we'll never forget VIDEO

Topics: Video, Music, Television, TV, nashville, Glee, Smash, Happy Endings, Bunheads, Mad Men,

The year TV broke out in song (Credit: AMC/Ron Jaffe)

“Nashville” finished up the first part of its season last night with Juliette Barnes dominating a church, Gunnar and Scarlett selling a song, and Rayna Jaymes hesitating to go on tour with her younger rival. (Do it already!) In just eight episodes, “Nashville” has delivered some of the best musical moments on scripted TV this year. So on the occasion of its winter recess — and, also on the occasion of “Suburgatory’s” homage to Rebecca Black last night — here is some of the year’s best singing and dancing, from “Mad Men’s” “Zou Bisou Bisou” scene to “Happy Endings,” with Adam Pally wearing a giant crucifix earring, and of course, because it’s a show about a Broadway musical, we have to include a little number from that crazy show called “Smash.”

From “Nashville” 

“Nashville” has been full of great music, but it’s the duets that have been mesmerizing, more effectively distilling and tracking the characters’ changing emotions than any dialogue. The three best: the first episode’s “If I Didn’t Know Better,” which presaged the inevitable Gunnar-Scarlett puppy-dog love story; the Deacon-Rayna duet “No One Will Ever Love You,” a bit of singing that’s emotionally tantamount to adultery; and Rayna and Juliette’s how-could-I-really-hate-you-when-singing-with-you-is-so-much-fun peace treaty, “Wrong Song.”

1. “If I Didn’t Know Better”


 

2. “No One Will Ever Love You”


3. “Wrong Song”


 

4. From “Mad Men”: “Zou Bisou Bisou”

The most memorable moment from the last season of “Mad Men” came in the very first episode, when Megan publicly serenaded new husband Don Draper with this French little number, originally made famous by Gillian Hills. It’s amazing television that I can still hardly bear to watch.



 

5. From “Glee”: “Teenage Dream” reprise

Even as over “Glee” as I am (and I am way, way, like to the sixth moon of Saturn over “Glee”), Darren Criss’ acoustic, heartbroken reprise of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” a song he once sang to much happier effect, put a little motion in my tear ducts.

 

6. From “Saturday Night Live,” hosted by Louis C.K.: “Brother Lincoln”

When Louis C.K. hosted “SNL,” the comedian worked with the sketch show to make a “Louie” spoof, “Lincoln,” in which Abraham Lincoln was imagined as an awkward guy very much like Louis C.K. The whole send-up is pitch perfect, but the credit sequence, in which “Louie’s” theme song becomes “Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln-eeee,” is the best.

 

From “Bunheads” 

For sheer strangeness (and amount of dialogue), no show this year matched the wily, weird, wonderful “Bunheads.” As evidence, please see these two dance sequences, dreamed up because creator Amy Sherman-Palladino just felt like having them in there. One’s a teenage girls’ “angry dance” set to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” The other is a ballet about recycling.

7. “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”

8. “Paper or Plastic”

 

9. From “Happy Endings”: “Like a Prayer”
In the “Happy Endings” Season 2 finale, Max rejoined the all-male Madonna cover band Mandonna to deliver this version of “Like a Prayer,” proving that “Like a Prayer” sounds pretty good even when it’s growled.

 

From “Smash” 

“Smash’s” first season was an (immensely enjoyable) disaster, but the fault was not with the songs, especially not the ones created for the Marilyn musical within the show. (The wan pop numbers performed by Katharine McPhee are, however, partially to blame.) Two great examples: the incessantly performed but very effective “Let Me Be Your Star,” and the first episode’s “National Pastime,” which demonstrated early on just how well “Smash” could ape a real musical number (when it wasn’t doing something inexplicably mediocre instead).

10. “Let Me Be Your Star”

11. “National Pastime”

 

12. From “Treme”: Every musical moment

It’s impossible to pick just a handful of standout musical moments from the David Simon series. Just watch it all.

 

Bonus: I like to think of this scene from Leslie Knope’s City Council campaign in last season’s “Parks & Recreation” as a choreographed dance sequence. I’ll always have a place in my heart for Gloria Estefan’s “Get Off Your Feet,” now.

 

Willa Paskin

Willa Paskin is Salon's staff TV writer.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>